Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a potentially debilitating disease (grouping of unique symptoms) in which the body’s immune systems, involving poorly understood chemical or biomic processes, dissolve the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerves. Damage to myelin causes interference in the communication between the brain, spinal cord and other areas of the human body. This condition may result in deterioration of the nerves themselves, a process that is not reversible.
MS is diagnosed by the patterns formed by a spectrum of symptoms and by analysis of damage to nerves and nerve function. Science and medicine has yet to definitively identify the root causes of MS and does not have a definitive solution for prevention or cure. This visualization portrays the average MS patient and how it affects their life.
Using data from web sites such as Patients Like Me, we have constructed a more personal visualization of a person diagnosed with Secondary Progressive MS. MS begins at a younger age than many diseases, affects women significantly more than men, and is often just one degree of separation away from most of us – we know someone with the diagnosis and symptoms.
As we look at all of the possible causes of MS, we believe there is a combination of a genetic component and multiple environmental and experiential components that trigger the bodily exchanges that dissolve myelin sheaths surrounding certain nerves. We intend to launch a project to massively extract knowledge from people diagnosed with MS in order to identify causal factors that are preventable and reversible.